Monday, August 16, 2010

Mark 4v35f Sermon

Mark 4 v35-.

By Gary Wearne


illustration. A few years back I went fishing with a good friend Larry and his 9 year old daughter in his runabout on Jervis bay.

Started off a really pleasant and calm day and after 35 minutes had a good spot on the bay and were enjoying the fishing. After a couple of hours, a warm breeze from the West sprang up and as it was unusual I suggested to Larry maybe we better head in. Well in the time it took to pull up our lines and get started the breeze had turned cold and was quite forceful, causing very choppy conditions.

Heading back to shore took twice as long as it did to get out and I began to be concerned that if the engine conked out we'd be swept out through the heads into the pacific ocean! That's how difficult our headway was into the wind and the waves. I began to be worried for larry's daughter if we should capsize or be driven out through the heads.

At times on that trip in I was a bit fearful and no one else on board spoke a word!

In our passage this morning we get a similar report from Mark in chapter 4 of his gospel. So what's going on here?

Most of you know the story reasonably well.

How it had been a long day for Jesus,
he's been teaching and the kingdom, he'd been revealing to his disciples the mysteries of the Kingdom ... expand on this...

and now he's going to teach them more about himself.
That's the context,

Now ask yourself - What does it mean when Jesus says something?

What do you think it means

Is it merely a hope,
wishful thinking?

a desire he has ?

Is it along the lines of comments we make such as "I'd like to be over there in .."

Well Mark 4:35-41 addresses really well Who Jesus is! It challenged the disciples and it will challenge us to rethink, or think once more about Who Jesus is.

His will matches His intent.
What He says goes!
What He says will happen!

So in verse 35 Jesus tells his disciples
Not "let's just head out of here"

But "let us go over to the other side"
Let us ! take great notice of that - "let us" - he says we are going over to the other side. He didn't say, I've some good news and some bad news, good news, we're taking a boat trip over to the other side of the lake, bad news, some of you aren't going to make it!

And as they were going across the lake, Jesus fell asleep, exhausted after the long day of ministry.

And a great storm suddenly arose.
And such a bad storm that they fear they will perish,
they fear for their lives,
these hardened fishermen!
they know a bad storm when they see one, and they are afraid. verse 38.

But Jesus had said "let us .." go to the other side.
Not "well some of us will get there.."

When we begin to get a grasp on what's going on here we better understand their statement in verse 41 "Who can this be?"

After all that they have seen Jesus do, still they weren't in tune with Who He was!

Their concept of the Messiah was still mixed up notions of current Jewish expectations of the Jews in Bondage to a Gentile power.

Notice how the storm stopped immediately at His command, even the water became calm, here indeed was a true miracle.

It wasn't as though Jesus saw over the squall that there was a blue patch of sky coming,
or that he could sense the change in temperature of the wind or whatever,

When a storm dies down as it can,
the swell does not immediately stop. Yet at Jesus' command it did.

Jesus has control over nature itself.

Now this should, as it did speak heaps to the disciples, they knew that only God has control over the winds and the waves. They would have known Psalm 89:8-9 ... turn with me to that psalm. READ it.

See how it talks of O Lord God of Hosts. .. Who is like thee? Who indeed.

Given that Psalm, the disciples have a dilemma about Who Jesus is don't they? No one else is like God,
Yet here is one, they are willing to call the Messiah who does what God alone can do!


How does all this apply to us?

The disciples asked the question, the right question. Who is this man?

Their knowledge of Him grew.
All things we are told have their Amen in Him - He upholds all things. Col 1:16.

So what of the trials of your life?
Cancer? Alchzeimers disease, or illness of a loved spouse? things way outside of our control! outside of our expertise.

Maybe like some of the disciples who were fishermen, they knew trouble when they saw it? The problem is they hadn't really come to grips with Who Jesus was and What His Word counts for!

Do you run after man made solutions so that time wise the seeking of solutions controls your life? It consumes your life?

Honor God in your Trial!

Don't be fearful. verse 40.
Sure it's good to have a right perspective but not to have overwhelming fear.

illustration: It's a bit like getting up on the roof of your house. It's smart to have enough "fear" to be cautious if your know what I mean - you don't get up there and do a song and dance, you are careful. But it's not to be so controlled by fear that you get up there and can't move so bad you have to be rescued by the fire Brigade. That's overwhelming fear.

Second - what is faith?
Jesus asked His disciples, verse 40. Have you no faith. Here he contrasts faith and fear. In verse 40 the word for fear is deiloi ... means ...cowardice, timidity, fearfulness. It is a word which is always used in a negative sense. This is fear that should not be. And in contrast to this type of fear, Jesus speaks of faith.

What is faith? It's trusting relying upon someone or something. It's a verb it always has an object. Some mistakenly talk of faith in the sense that it doesn't have an object and when they do that they mistakenly think in terms of not having enough faith for so and so, to do such and such. to get better as some charismatics say...

Who are you trusting in?


Good looks.
or the Creator of all things - Jesus

And it's when we understand Who Jesus is that a proper fear arises - the word for fear used in vs41 is phobon. and can have the positive sense of reverence. look at how it's used in Acts 9:31 and Romans 3:18.
Fear / reverence for the eternal one, not being consumed by some temporal trial.
Do you think that the storm and the very true reality in their minds of the possibility of death caused them fear? Well in verse 41 we are told that they feared exceedingly. "They feared a great fear".

They were growing in their apprehension and comprehension of Jesus the Christ.

They had much to learn, as no doubt each of us has much to learn about our Lord.

Not thinking here of academic knowledge, but of knowledge that's personal, intimate. and joyous!

Lastly, God cares !

Do you need to be told that? Do you need to be reminded?
He Cares
Matt 6.... illustration
He wants them to trust Him. He wants you to Trust Him.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Sin Delusion – Why do Atheists just not get it?

Why do Atheists just not consider the wretchedness of man due to his sinfulness?
Some helpful comments by Clay Jones who is an assistant professor at Biola University give us a perspective to mull over on this when he talks about evil and suffering.

Richard Dawkins has that famous comments in his ‘The God Delusion’ that shows he hasn’t really understood the Old Testament nor it’s teaching about God at all.
Dawkin’s said on page 31
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser;a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
But let me challenge him to reread it and look at the Grace that God shows towards a sinful and rebellious people. How patient he is in regard to their ongoing sinfulness. Just read the book of Genesis to see this at its clearest.

Often times we hear the objection from unbelievers that a central objection to believing in the Christian God is the Problem of evil’, and it in general doesn’t take a syllogistic form but rather a more down to earth objection as to “Why do bad things happen to good people?” and only later is it raised up a level to “Why is there so much suffering in the World if God is so good?”

In this regard the interview with Clay at Apologetics 315 gives great insight into this whole issue. Clay has written an article which talks openly about the command of the Lord God for Israel to wipe out the Canaanites. He rightly points out that many who object have failed to take into account a number of crucial factors.
Firstly it’s not Divine Genocide but Capital Punishment that is taking place here for the sin of the Canaanites as indicated from Leviticus 18 indicates the utter baseness of the people here. Not only were they committing incest and adultery but in the end they give over their children in sacrifice to Molech.
Furthermore, it is a people problem for God later judges the Israelites with exile in 722 BC for doing the very same things, first warned the tribes of the North by His prophets about committing the very same sins of the Canaanites. So the Assyrians destroyed them in warfare and took off many into exile. Then Judah was warned also and they suffered the same fate of exile in 586 BC under the Babylonians. But let me here encourage you to listen to the interview.

His point is that it’s not genocide, as in destroying just the race of the Canaanites on whim, but killing those who sin in this way which is Capital Punishment.

Secondly, not only is it about Capital Punishment but those that object about Divine Genocide have failed to address the utter sinfulness of what is going on , and indeed they ignore in our own culture what is going on. In this regard what he says has powerful ramifications for Christian apologetics and how to answer objections by unbelievers in regard to the questionable goodness of God. We need to ask them when they object in some regard to God’s goodness and things like Divine genocide and the like whether they regard paedophilia and bestiality as abhorrent and evil?

What is their reply? And on what basis are they able to call these things that men do evil?

We are asking what do they do about the obvious evilness of man himself!

How does their worldview give an account of what is right and wrong, evil or good?

For the Christian he takes into account not merely the fall of man as told in Genesis 3 but also what the Lord God tells us through Paul in Romans 1.
Romans 1 must be taken into consideration here. It’s central to our Christian Worldview. Sure God made mankind good, and yet in Adam they fell and all mankind now are sinners. That doesn’t mean primarily that we regard man’s problem is that he does specific sins which we regard as abhorrent such as lying and cheating and adultery and murder but that he ignores his creator, the Living Sovereign God of Scripture. Man is in rebellion against his Creator and desires to rule his own life. From this suppressing the knowledge of God results a moral and epistemological corruption. There are consequences to his rebellion in the world that God has made and they are a foolish thinking and moral degeneration.

Let me again encourage you to browse over to Apologetics 315 and download the Clay Jones interview. it's well worth the 54 minutes listening to it.

Your brother in Christ,